Christmas in July

Last year, I really kicked around the idea of doing some kind of Christmas project that my daughter would have forever.

I have had the idea on my mind since I saw the Yarn Harlot’s advent tree that she did back in 2014. I loved it, but I wasn’t a confident sewer, and I had a one-year-old at the time, and it just seemed a little out of reach for what I could accomplish at the time. Also, I already had an advent calendar with a scene of Santa and Mrs. Claus that had a tiny mouse that you moved from pocket to pocket. It was given to me by my Granny, so it’s very special to me, and I had passed it down to BK. I thought she was covered for an advent calendar, because I want her to have fond memories of that one, too, and it was a wonderful thing we could share.

So I started looking for alternatives. Last year, the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland KAL caught my eye. It was appealing because it only involved 12 things, not 24, and also you had two weeks to complete each small mitten, which seemed very reasonable. It was also very beautiful. But I ultimately decided not to make it, because even though it was lovely, I struggled with where it would go in amongst my Christmas decorations. I also explored the Mitten Garland Advent Calendar by the same designer, which is also lovely. I also considered a garland of little stockings, but didn’t want to commit to finding treats to put in each one of them, since BK usually already has a store-bought calendar with chocolates in it.

Eventually, this year, I got back around to the idea of the Yarn Harlot’s tree. And I figured if I’ve been thinking about it for 3 years, that’s probably what I really want to make. And that BK probably had enough room in her life for two advent calendars, since last year she had three (the mouse one I gave her, a chocolate one, and one with mini Thomas trains in it).  I started digging around for ideas on what to put on the tree, and made a rough list of what I would like to include. I’m still finalizing exactly which 24 things will be on it. BK and I have a had a few conversations over what to add and what to remove, and the list is very fluid at the moment. I’ve started on a few, and since I still have 4 months, I’m sure I can get it done for this Christmas (famous last words, right?).

tiny ornament for advent calendar

Above, you’ll see one of the finished items. It’s a tiny Christmas ornament, made from this pattern in one of my favorite books, Handknit Holidays. I’ve made the full-size version several times (I got a little excited about this pattern when I first learned to knit in the round), and all I did for this one was start just as the patten calls for, but didn’t increase the full number of times. When I finished it, I then picked up three stitches on the top in the gray yarn and made a tiny i-cord for the top of the ornament. The main part of the ornament is Tiny Toes by BaH Yarns. I’m not sure they make this color way any more, because I bought it when they first started. Heather is a good friend, and I love everything she and Brenda make. I originally purchased this yarn with the intention of making BK socks, but since she hates all socks (handmade and store-bought) and prefers to be barefoot, it seemed like a waste of good yarn. So she’ll still have something made out of this beautiful yarn, and it doesn’t have to be on her feet. 🙂

Wish me luck on getting all this done before December! And I’ll keep you posted on which 24 ideas make the final cut.

P.S. – Happy Birthday, Harry Potter.

Monday Musing: Fall in a Ball

Oh, my friends. I have an obsession. And this is it:

Fall in a ball - Bella Vista shawl in progress

I call it “Fall in a Ball.” But what it really is is Dream in Color Smooshy sock weight in the September 2014 club colorway.

Right before I left knit night this week, the Evil Temptress Susan (aka – the LYS owner) brought out the newly delivered club colorway, and there happened to be a few up for grabs. It was so beautiful, and seemed like “fall in a ball” – all of the beauty of my favorite season in one skein.

Now, I have told myself no more highly variegated sock yarns, because I have been sucked in by so many, and it’s often difficult to find the right pattern to that shows off the yarn and has some pattern, but a pattern that won’t get lost in all that color.

But this, this I could not resist. Autumn is my favorite season, and I just loved, loved, loved it and imagined it as a shawl to keep me warm in my constantly freezing office for the season.

I didn’t opt for the pattern that came with the club colorway, but I found this absolutely gorgeous pattern that I thought would be just right. I managed to cast on and do a few rows Sunday, and I can’t wait to make more progress!!

Sweetest knitting bag ever + new project!

Look at this adorable little bag!!

Cath Kidston cottage knitting bag

I picked it up back in May when I made a pilgrimage to the Cath Kidston shop in London. When I saw this knitting bag that looks like a cottage, I had to have it!

Not only is it super cute, but it is LARGE. I currently have 6 skeins of Cascade 128 superwash in it (a bulky yarn that takes up a lot of space!) and still have plenty of room to spare.

There are no inner pockets to this, but there is one large one that runs the span of the back with a Velcro closure. There’s so much room inside, though, that I haven’t used it yet. The only trick I think they missed was that the back and inside are plain red. If the inside had some coordinating print, I think it would take it over the top!

I don’t see the bag online any more. It went on super sale about a week after I got home (figures!) and then it disappeared. Cath Kidston still has some cute stuff in her craft range though.

Cath Kidston cottage knitting bag with Roseberry in progress

And what is that large amount of red knitting you see, you ask? It is the Roseberry that I started a couple of weeks ago for dear Baby Knitsnips. I found this pattern very early on in my pregnancy and favorited it. I was just obsessed with it. And I still am. I love the hood. I love that it is made with cozy bulky yarn. But most of all, I love the cables.

As soon as I saw this pattern, I instantly thought it should be red. It just felt like a Little Red Riding Hood sweater. I felt so strongly about it being red, that in my mind, the project on Ravelry was red. I was astonished when I went back to buy the pattern and the picture was of a BEIGE sweater. When did it turn beige? It didn’t change, of course, I just had a real vision for this sweater.

It’s a Ann Kingstone pattern, who I first found through these incredible Gryffindor socks (I love them! Who wants to knit them for me?! I both adore them and am terrified to knit them at the same time!). I’m excited to be knitting one of her patterns now, and I also have my eye on Ilkley Moor (maybe for my Irish yarn?).

I am using some of my favorite bulky yarn, Cascade 128 superwash, on size 10 needles for this project.  I’m making the 2-3 size, even though BK is mostly wearing 18 months clothes, and a very few 24 months, just to make sure we can make it through the winter. If we’re lucky, she may be able to wear it next winter, too! Regardless, it will be well-worn and loved. BK spent most of the winter last  year in sweaters instead of a coat, because I felt like they were more comfortable for her and they kept her warm for our quick trips between the car and stores. I anticipate this sweater may end up being one of her most used this winter. I can’t wait to see that cute little face in this beautiful sweater!

Monday Musing: In Threes

My friends, I decided there were too many fingering weight projects in my WIP pile, so I decided to start knitting something worsted. What better project than the In Threes I’ve had planned since Christmas?

You see, when my Friday Night Knitting group gave me baby shower for BK last year, one wonderful lady made her a little In Threes in Liberty Wool, and I was just taken by it. I loved that it was a nice warm layer without the bulk of sleeves. I loved that she could wear it in the evenings as a layer before it got really chilly out. She even wore it as a layer to play in when it got so frigid this winter that no one’s heater could keep up and it was cold inside. In short, she got lot of wear out of it and I loved the look of it.

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So I purchased a different color of Liberty Wool (7829) right after Christmas with the intention of knitting her a bigger one for this year. Last week, I got itchy fingers to start the project. I purchased the pattern on Ravelry, pulled out my yarn….and realized I was at least a skein short on yardage!! I remember looking at the yarn requirements on my phone via Ravelry in the store while buying the yarn, and I even remember telling my mom that I would never need more than 2. Not sure how that happened…

Anyway, I went to the store again last week to see if they had more. I figured I would have to buy a different dye lot and do some alternating. But, to my amazement, I found two of my dye lot! I bought them quickly, thought I should buy a lotto ticket if my luck was that good (and then didn’t), and ran home to start. I LOVE it so far – the pattern isn’t too taxing on my stressed mind, and the color changes of the wool keep me guessing. Never mind that I will probably never need the 4th skein (which, in honesty, I bought because in my mind I needed that much, but when I got home and consulted the pattern I realized I did not – fool me twice!), it would make a lovely coordinated hat!

I’m zooming along on the yoke now, but will be spending the work week wishing I was finishing up this lovely!

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In fact, my plan is to have it done in the next two weeks. All of my current projects have been lingering for so long (like since October – yeek!!), I feel I need a quick win. I’ll have to try to carpool as much as I can this week to get in my knitting time!

What are you working on this week?